Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Anne de Beer and Gérard Blanc comment here on a recent study by the BIPE on the impact of the information and communications technologies (ICTs) on growth, productivity and employment.
We know that over two decades the investments in ICTs seem not to have had a major impact on productivity and employment -hence Solow's famous paradox: "computers are everywhere except in the statistics". Perhaps, suggest the authors, this is because the introduction of these technologies required a considerable effort of organizational and sociocultural adaptation and innovation which occurred slowly.
According to the BIPE, however, the impact of the ICTs appears to have been clearly positive, first in the United States since the mid 1990s, slightly later in France. Not only did these technologies constitute an extremely dynamic sector but, in addition, they encouraged the whole range of economic activities and therefore had a major multiplier effect on growth, productivity and employment.
Basing its study on the structure of the French economy in 1998, the BIPE attempted to estimate the multiplier effect that the ICTs might have on the French economy between now and 2003. This article briefly reviews these simulations, which are quite promising.
"The classical theory of free trade is based on the idea that free trade combined with competition will increase the welfare of all parties in the exchange." In short, that trade is a positive sum game and therefore any barriers to international trade can only harm overall welfare.
Olivier Godard argues here that this theory breaks down with regard to the environment. It assumes that all the elements in the cost of producing goods -in particular their adverse effects on the environment- are internalized by the producers. But in practice this is not true. Godard offers suggestions of what improvements therefore need to be made.
He starts by examining how to reconcile -by making some corrective adjustments- free trade and protection of the environment, in line with the source of the externalities (consumption patterns or methods of production) and their nature (local or global). But he then argues that the resulting typology is of limited value and cannot cope with the appearance of health and environmental risks that have not been verified scientifically, so that what matters in practice is the principle of risk aversion and how it is applied.
Some people may not find the arguments easy reading. But they undoubtedly address a key issue: how to adapt -perhaps change- the rules of free trade to take account of the new requirements related to protecting the environment or, to put it another way, how to restore a concern with the long term to the rules of international trade, to ensure both that they are respected and yet not wrongly exploited for protectionist reasons.
The article is not just about the national and international public bodies -the World Trade Organization in particular- but also about businesses facing the problems of where to locate their activities and how to remain competitive in world markets.
With the Internet and the spread of the information and communication technologies (ITCs), one noticed the emergence (especially in the United States of America) of the concept of a "Net-economy", as well as the one, broader, of a "new economy". Their advocates argue that we would have entered a new era, characterized by a technological and economic paradigm that would be totally different from the former.
Frédéric Teulon first indicates what this concept of a "new economy" means, and explains how the idea could emerge that the growth of the ITCs -as well as those of the rail in the XIXth century and of the electricity and the car in the XXth - can signify a new era. The author wonders how it could denote that we would be now at the beginning of a new upswing in the Kondratieff cycle. In this regard, he points out the effective improvements accomplished, despite the delay justifying Solow's paradox -computers can be seen everywhere except in the productivity rate- and due to the deep restructuring of the American productive system.
But, even if technological innovation is patent and if information now represents the main factor of wealth, it does not necessarily mean that the past economic rules are outdated. Frédéric Teulon, through various examples, demonstrates that on the contrary these remain really relevant: the ITCs do not imply the end of the big firm, of the market economy (vs. economy of the free), of integration, of the risk of inflation...
It is important not to be deluded by the takeoff of the Nasdaq -Nasdaq which has lost half its value since March 2000... Many start-ups will be bankrupt... All this is normal: the "new economy" functions in the same way as the old; if technical improvement permitted growth, the fact remains that the problematic of development is much more complex than what is explained by those who want to present a univocal answer. Economic, fiscal and monetary policies, for instance, remain as far important.
Everyone agrees that poverty is dreadful and that its eradication should be a top priority. Yet while knowledge is recognized to be the greatest form of wealth for today's societies, enormous inequalities are developing not just in financial terms but also in access to knowledge.
Xavier Godinot sets out here to show that there are different sorts of knowledge: theoretical knowledge, which is often the most highly valued -and is indeed the basis for a process of segregation- but also knowledge related to living and acting, not to mention spiritual knowledge, which is probably shared more equitably but which is harder to express, recognize and turn to good account.
The fight against poverty cannot be limited to efforts that allow a few to escape from want while others are relegated to the categories of disabled and unemployable. Nor cannot it succeed by relying on pseudo-training courses in which noble "manipulators of symbols" claim to instruct the poor, or by maintaining a two-tier system of training and job placement that merely reinforces inequalities, especially given that the educational system cannot on its own remedy the differences in family background.
Echoing the philosopher Michel Serres, Godinot stresses that "the fight against poverty and social exclusion does indeed involve the acquisition of knowledge [...] but it is above all about recognizing kinds of knowledge that are not valued", especially the kinds of knowledge related to living and acting that poor people have, and which need to be linked with theoretical types of knowledge.
Using as an example the experience gained in the "Quart Monde Université" programme, Godinot shows how it is possible, by bringing together poor people, social workers and academics against a background of mutual respect, for everyone to learn from everyone else and for the whole group to make progress - progress towards greater understanding of the processes whereby people become poor and excluded; progress towards the process of empowering the least fortunate in society.
Xavier Godinot is thus not content with denouncing poverty; he describes here a promising way forward based not on aid but on partnership, a partnership that ultimately enriches everyone involved, from the richest to the poorest.
Edmond Malinvaud offers us here a masterly economics lecture on the subject of employment. It is in three parts: the first concentrates on the lessons of the past, the second looks at the prospects and issues between now and 2010, and the third examines the priorities that should govern French economic policy.
First of all he surveys the developments observed in the course of recent decades, stressing in particular the increasing levels of unemployment up to 1996, which he blames not so much on the frequently cited rigidities of French society as on rapid wage increases which were halted belatedly by a strong economic policy.
Then, observing that the French economy managed to generate 1.6 million jobs in the last four years as a result of a more favourable economic climate and an interventionist public policy, Malinvaud reflects on the prospects for economic growth, including those caused by the boom in new technologies and, above all, on the future increases in productivity -the factors boosting and holding it back- and the likelihood of a new situation of full employment, including the possible level of structural unemployment.
Along the way he stresses the risks of inflation and argues the need both for a "carefully judged macroeconomic policy" and for a reform of the welfare state so as to avoid, in particular, the traps of unemployment and low activity rates.
In the end, Edmond Malinvaud highlights the priorities that French economic policy ought to adopt if it is to achieve a better balance henceforth between economic and social concerns, and between efficiency and fairness.
Nous voici, en ce début de l'année 2001, à nouveau confrontés en France à deux enjeux qui, paradoxalement, demeurent traités de manière distincte : celui des perspectives d'emploi et celui de l'avenir des retraites.
Taking as his starting-point a recent article by Richard Thaler on the future of economics, Alain Michel launches a vigorous attack on "economic science" which is interested only in homo oeconomicus with his supposedly rational behaviour, and pleads instead for "political economy" which is concerned with homo sapiens as a being also motivated by emotions, sensitivity, perhaps with a soul.
He shows how economists, utterly convinced of the scientific nature of their work, have managed to create a form of economics that is heavily mathematical and nothing to do with the real world -an approach that is admittedly not without interest, but its claims to objectivity are exaggerated and it lacks real descriptive force.
He points out that human beings are not bloodless agents who act in a purely rational way, so that their actions cannot be understood without combining the branches of knowledge that have been artificially separated in the name of science. He is therefore highly critical of the current scientism, and in fact highlights its limits; instead he argues passionately in favour of a more interdisciplinary approach that is better suited to an understanding of homo sapiens, who for that matter is a more congenial being.
Cet ouvrage a été rédigé par deux auteurs, économistes, qui ont séjourné à Hong Kong dans le cadre du poste d'expansion économique. L'étude présentée, qui porte sur les espaces économiques du monde chinois, a par conséquent bénéficié d'une excellente qualité des informations et d'une richesse des données économiques. Les auteurs nous présentent une Asie où la Chine, plus exactement le monde chinois, est sur le point de remplacer le Japon comme leader économique de la zone ...
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Dans un long article de la Havard Business Review, Charles Handy s'appuie sur Tocqueville pour éclairer le futur du capitalisme américain. Il procède d'abord à quelques rappels. Tocqueville a bien vu l'une des raisons de la réussite américaine et de sa permanence. Les Américains, notamment les Puritains, sont venus dans un pays vierge pour construire une société nouvelle. Ils avaient, et gardent, confiance en eux-mêmes. La plupart sont convaincus qu'aujourd'hui est meilleur qu'hier et ...
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Pour son huitième rapport moral sur l'argent dans le monde, l'Association d'économie financière a choisi de revenir sur quatre grands thèmes qui ont marqué le monde de la finance durant l'année 2000-2001. Sur fond de crise majeure des relations internationales et de remise en cause radicale du système financier mondial provoquée par les attentats du 11 septembre 2001, les auteurs se sont tout d'abord penchés sur les enjeux de l'économie mondialisée. Dans cette première ...
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Accessible à tous, cet ouvrage reproduit en fait les conférences qui ont été diffusées chaque mois sur France Culture depuis l'automne 2000, conférences dans lesquelles l'auteur cherche à fournir aux personnes intéressées par les problèmes économiques des clefs de compréhension du monde contemporain. Il est vrai que le discours dominant conduit parfois les autorités qui nous gouvernent à prendre des décisions dont le bien-fondé peut nous échapper. La démarche adoptée par l'auteur consiste donc à reprendre dans ...
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L'un des effets du drame du 11 septembre 2001 est d'avoir redonné de l'espoir aux dirigistes. La guerre conduit à l'intervention de l'État. Enfin les administrations vont pouvoir justifier leur gonflement et les gouvernements leurs déficits. Alors que cette menace se précise, il n'est pas inutile de relire les « libéraux ». Pierre Manent reprend dans la très bonne collection Tel, chez Gallimard, son anthologie des « Libéraux ». Il rappelle dans son introduction que le socialisme n ...
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À l'origine de cet essai réside un constat : « la confiance et l'argent ont acquis dans le discours et dans les engagements de nos sociétés un rôle plus éminent qu'auparavant » et c'est « leur association dans une configuration inédite qui paraît révélatrice des mutations en cours ». La mondialisation économique contemporaine a fait émerger des catégories discursives qui eussent été totalement improbables il y a peu, comme par exemple le « capitalisme vertueux », ou l'idée de fonds « éthiques » ou ...
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Cette édition des Perspectives de l'emploi de l'OCDE se penche sur plusieurs sujets au cœur des débats actuels. Le chapitre 1 s'intéresse à l'activation des dépenses passives pour l'emploi : il s'agit de passer de politiques du marché du travail passives (indemnisation du chômage, préretraites) à des politiques actives (visant à améliorer le fonctionnement du marché du travail en augmentant la mobilité et l'ajustement), comme s'y sont engagés en 1992 les pays de ...
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Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.